Background: Although digital rectal examination is an established part of physical examinations in patients with acute gastrointestinal bleeding, clinicians are reluctant to perform a rectal examination. We intended to assess whether rectal examination affects the clinical management decision in these patients. Methods: We performed a single-center, retrospective, cross-sectional study using data from electronic health records of patients aged ≥18 years presenting to the emergency department with acute gastrointestinal bleeding. Hospital admissions, intensive care unit admissions, gastroenterology consultation, initiation of medical therapy (proton pump inhibitor or octreotide), and inpatient endoscopy (upper endoscopy or colonoscopy) were assessed as outcomes. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed. Results: Of 1237 patients with acute gastrointestinal bleeding, 549 (44.4%) did not have a rectal examination. Patients who had a rectal examination were less likely to be admitted than patients who did not have a rectal examination (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30-0.79; P = .004). Patients who had a rectal examination were less likely to be started on medical therapy (AOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.41-0.98; P = .04) and to have endoscopy (AOR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.44-0.94; P = .02) than patients who did not have a rectal examination. Conclusions: Rectal examination in patients with acute gastrointestinal bleeding can assist clinicians with clinical management decision and reduce admissions, endoscopies, and medical therapy in these patients.
- Acute gastrointestinal bleeding
- Digital rectal examination
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